What can you say of a man, who was a meteorologist by trade but became a microlight aircraft pilot, just to help out lesser white-fronted geese in migrating from Germany to Sweden? A bird lover in the truest sense. Meet Christian Moullec, who is father to these birds, struggling with their migration.
The inspiration for this 58-year-old Frenchman was an Austrian zoologist, Konrad Lorenz, called ‘the man who walked with the geese.’ This zoologist was able to change the behavior of newly hatched mallard ducklings by the process of imprinting. This involved imitating a mother duck’s quacking sounds to make them believe he was their mother and made them followed him.
Moullec did one better. In 1995, he took to the skies in a two-seater microlight aircraft and flew alongside the members of lesser white-fronted geese, a vulnerable species, to guide them on a safer migration route, with the aim of reintroducing them into the wilds of Lapland. Not only this, since 2008 he has been taking tourists along with him in his microlight aircraft to give them the thrill of flying as part of the formation of migrating flocks of geese.
Moullec has a two-fold aim for taking the tourists on his microlight aircraft. One he wants to give them an experience of a lifetime by making them a part of the bird’s flying formation. But, more importantly, he aims to make people aware of the disappearance of migratory birds in Europe, due to the use of chemicals in agriculture.
The geese that follow this birdman are hand-reared by him, since birds in the wild, whom he tried to lead, failed to follow him. This hand-rearing took several years, but he was ultimately able to release them in the wild and started guiding them on the correct migration route.
Moullec’s passengers come from all walks of life from around the globe and pay $744 per person per trip. He expresses his happiness in doing this on kickasstrips.com, thus, “It’s an overwhelming spiritual experience. The most beautiful thing is to fly in the heavens with the angels that are the birds.”